BBC quoted witnesses saying the attacker struck as worshippers were performing a sacred dance.

Also yesterday, a vehicle packed with explosives blew up in Iraqi capital Baghdad, killing at least 48 and wounding 55 in the deadliest such attack in Iraq this year, security and medical sources said. Senior police officer Shabbir Sethar feared the death toll might go up. The only hospital in the area was said to be overwhelmed. Thursday evening is considered to be the holiest time to pray in the shrine.

A stampede followed the blast as a large number of devotee, including women and children, were present in the shrine.

"An ancient mystic branch of Islam, Sufism has been practised in Pakistan for centuries".

Three people were killed and more than 27 others were injured on February 25, 2013, in a bomb attack at Dargah Ghulam Shah Ghazi in the village of Maari near Shikarpur district, Sindh.

There were around 500 to 800 people inside the shrine when the blast happened, he said. The nearest major hospital was almost an hour s drive away in Dadu district. The military said navy helicopters capable of flying at night would be sent to airlift the critically injured.

He expressed his deep grief and condoled with the bereaved families of Capt. Taha and two other military personnel who were killed in this attack in Awaran.

The bombing is the latest in a series of deadly attacks carried out by various rival Sunni militant organizations, including the small but increasingly influential IS and the Pakistani Taliban, who often target the nation's Shi'ite Muslims and Sufi minority.

In August past year, at least 74 people, mostly lawyers, were killed in a suicide bombing of a hospital in the southwestern city of Quetta.

The blast at the vehicle market was in the same neighbourhood where a auto bombing killed at least four people on Tuesday.

Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that terrorist attack on the shrine was the worst form of terrorism aimed at ripping apart the Sufi fabric of unity and peace.

Provincial police chief A.D Khawaja told reporters over 70 people were killed in the blast.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif denounced the attack and called on all Pakistanis to unite in the face of terrorist attacks that have rocked the country over the past week.

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has also directed that immediate assistance be provided to civil authorities. "No more restraint for anyone".

On Wednesday, Pakistan lodged a formal complaint with next-door Afghanistan, charging that the Islamic State-linked militants were operating from sanctuaries across the border.



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